February 8th, 2009
06:40 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama 'Hope' artist arrested in Boston

Fairey stands next to his famous depiction of Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.
Fairey stands next to his famous depiction of Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.

(CNN) –The street artist who created the ubiquitous red, white and blue Obama "Hope" posters was arrested Friday in Boston on outstanding graffiti charges, police said.

Shepard Fairey, 38, was arrested en route to an opening party for his first solo art exhibition on two outstanding warrants for property damage by graffiti, Boston police said.

Officer James Kenneally said the instances of graffiti involved images of the late wrestler Andre the Giant - Fairey's tag.

The Friday arrest represents Fairey's second legal tangle this week.

Earlier, the Associated Press accused him of copyright infringement, saying the iconic "Hope" portrait of the president is based on an April 2006 photograph of Obama taken by AP's Mannie Garcia.

The AP - the world's largest news organization - is seeking credit and compensation from Fairey, who contends the image is protected by fair use laws.

The graffiti artist is no stranger to law enforcement. In a recent interview, Fairey told the Boston Globe he has been arrested at least 14 times.

Fairey was released on bail shortly after his arrest Friday and is scheduled for arraignment Monday.

Calls to his lawyer were not immediately returned Saturday.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Carol

    Wow!! someone finally got arrested for "graffiti"- give me a break.

    February 7, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Corbett

    This man is NOT a good role model. But he IS a good rock star.

    February 7, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. vick

    ya there are killers out there killing people this guys are after artists

    February 7, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Amanda

    He is a genial artist. He should be rewarded not arrested. Shame !

    February 7, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. James

    Being arrested, fines, etc. are all just part of Mr. Fairey's cost of doing business. If nothing else, it just made him front page news.

    February 7, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. Bob from Portland

    I guess the Boston cops ran out of useful things to do.

    February 7, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. Joe

    But he's a democrat and democrats should be able to break the law, just like they shouldn't have to work or put forth any effort. They need the big old government to baby sit them at all times.

    February 7, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Simmy

    When you present yourself to the public, you had better be clean. I wouldn't be surprised if the AP didn't send their PI to check for dirt under his rug. I hope they don't get any of this money.

    February 7, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. Natasha

    Why is this important? someone please tell me!

    February 7, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Why

    Uncle Joe Stalin would love his work.

    February 7, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. JPM

    leave artists alone!!!!! man, we are struggling enough as it is. Just cause the man gave Obama some fame...he didn't make any money of his art, he donated it.

    February 7, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. sk

    The guy has talent and is a rookie – he did not hide that he used AP's photo. AP is standing in the way of talent – if he had malicious intent – he should be prosecuted – or AP could simply just applaud the artist and help him achieve greatness – petty objections from AP.

    February 7, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. drew

    Doesn't law enforcement in this country have anything better to do - like deal with illegality on Wall Street - than slam the creator of one of the only pure art forms left in society? Although the vandalism case could be argued, Fairey hasn't even collected royalties from his Obama design. So as far as the rest of descent, hard working Americans are concerned, the AP should go back to focusing on being the watch-dog of society, rather than trying to collect corporate profits from primitively accumulated intellectual property. This whole circumstance is absurd.

    February 7, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Romney2012

    He's a liberal....what do you expect? They are disruptive, disrespect and dishonest....and they teach it to our children...it's like a disease......

    February 7, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. John G

    Not sure why this is in the political ticker but hey whatever right?

    February 7, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. marc

    We have real crooks and murderers running the street and the city of Boston is waisting tax payers money chasing this man. Way to go BPD.

    February 7, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. catmom

    And this has what to do with President Obama? Nothing more than to give the Obama haters ammunition to to make this a negative for President Obama. The fact that the only relationship this person has to Obama is that he painted a picture means nothing to Obama haters.

    February 7, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. obama blues

    Forgot to pay his taxes. Honest mistake.

    February 7, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Dude better "hope" he doesn't do too much time in stir or else he may "change" his way of getting it on.

    February 7, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Stu-Florida

    CNN.... where do you guys come up with this stuff?????????????

    February 7, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. BJ

    Apparently rules don't apply with this guy.

    February 7, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Annemarie

    Holy Batman... get him!! Public criminal number ? Geez, this sounds really pathetic to go after him now. The timing seems petty and like the police have an agenda that we have yet to figure out. Don't they have bigger fish to fry in Boston?!

    February 7, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. KCBob

    We have wall street crawling with criminals and they are spending time arresting an Artist? What a waste of time and money.

    February 7, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. J-Syxx

    Arresting people for tagging is a not a great use of public resources imo.

    February 7, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. Steve

    Stupid comments by Obama haters in 3...2...1...

    February 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
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